Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

This year marks my fourth anniversary as a full-time artist! To celebrate, I’m starting a series of posts about what I’ve learned in the past four years and how I’ve sustained my art practice.

In today’s post, I’ll share how my weekly review process has helped me to learn and grow as an artist.


One thing you may not know about me is that I used to be a productivity coach. That’s right: I taught time management to hundreds of people over the course of my eleven years as a professional coach. Even though I’m no longer a coach, I still use many of the tools and methods that I taught to my clients.

One of my favorite tools is the weekly review.

At its most basic, a weekly review is that way I plan the next seven days. But my review process also includes a set a journaling questions that I use every week to document my progress and keep myself on track. (I have a dedicated template in Evernote that I use for this.)

My four weekly journaling questions are:

  • What went well?
  • What could have gone better?
  • What’s bugging me?
  • What do I need to help me excel?

Here’s a little break down on each question and how I use my answers to improve my performance in the following week(s).

What went well?

I’ve noticed that it’s very easy for me to forget just how much I get done! To combat that tendency, I keep a daily log (an idea I picked up from Austin Kleon). To document what went well during the past week, I pop open my log book and review the past seven days’ entries. I make a note in Evernote of everything that I accomplished or what I feel like went as planned. Everything from writing blog posts to enjoying hikes with my husband get listed.

What could have gone better?

This is the question that helps me track where I fell short or when something just plain went wrong. If I’m not getting to the actions I planned, this is where i ‘fess up. Sometimes I’m procrastinating or sometimes I’ve taken on too much. This question helps me to focus on not just what I could have done better but also what might have gotten in my way.

What’s bugging me?

When I answer this question, I often look back to the past several weeks to see if there’s a recurring issue. It’s amazing to me how often I’ll realize I’ve been answering this question the same way for more than two weeks in a row. And, of course, that’s my cue to do something about what’s bugging me (if I can).

What do I need to help me excel?

To help me grow and improve, not just as an artist but as a person, I take special care not only to answer this question but to make sure I act on my answers. I look back at what could have gone better and what’s bugging me to get clues on what I need to resolve those struggles and obstacles that got in my way the week before.

Planning the Coming Week

After I’ve answered my four questions, I review my calendar and create my plan for the next seven days. I transform the answers I came up with into action steps for the coming week based on what I want to accomplish and how to resolve problems as well as steps that will help me to excel.

And then, in seven days, I repeat the process!

I’ve learned that by being consistent in this kind of review, I am able to keep growing and improving because I know what I need to address to do that.

🔑 Key Takeaway

A weekly review will help you to see your progress and address areas that are giving you trouble. You’ll be more accountable to yourself to reach your goals and realize your aspirations.


Want more ideas like this?

I publish Painterly, a monthly newsletter for bird-loving artists who want to learn more about birds and grow their artistic skills.

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